We all know that death is coming, even though most of us don’t like to think about it that much. We just don’t know when and how and so we live our lives as though it is a long way off. This includes carers, including people caring for a person with dementia.
Dementia is a deteriorating condition and eventually, it will be terminal. However lots of people die with dementia, but not of it. They either have another underlying condition that becomes their cause of death or they can have an accident or illness.
Carers make plans on how to look after their loved one, they commission carers and make financial decisions about where the source of funding for care will come from, as whilst it might come from income, commonly, funding care means cashing in some asset/s.
It then becomes a massive shock when the person deteriorates suddenly and dies, within a couple of days or weeks. Whilst it was always known that they would die eventually, the plan was that they would live for a few more weeks, so there are implications for that plan.
Firstly, the family will be in shock, they are not just bereaved, but in shock as well and struggling to cope with their grief. And the decisions that were made now have to be dealt with. Any care or care arrangements can be ceased relatively easily, but the implications of the financial decisions might have wider consequences. If a house was sold a few weeks before death, then the beneficiaries of the estate no longer have a house to inherit, which they might have preferred. There can be tax implications to cashing in assets, such as CGT for investments, which would not have been payable on death and there might not have been a tax liability, so the beneficiaries will have lost that tax.
The executors and beneficiaries can take professional advice on the best way to deal with the assets of the estate. But they still have their loss, shock and grief to deal with. They can be reeling from the loss of the role of carer, it fills a lot of time and emotional energy being a carer, which they had planned to continue for months or years and this has now been taken from them.
Grief takes time to process and the loss of a close relative can be something that the family never fully recover from, they just learn to live with the grief. The shock will go eventually and be part of the feelings of bereavement that the person will have to deal w